Sunday, April 23, 2006

Two Cool and Sexy Cars

In the conspicuous-consumption 1980s, my husband Stephen was given a company car. It was a Ford Sierra with lots of letters after its name - something like an XR4i - in fact it may well have been exactly like an XR4i. This is the sort of thing, below, except ours was a rather pinker red.

It was given to Stephen because it had previously been driven by a computer salesman to the moon and back, and therefore had lots of miles on the clock. As Stephen didn't sell things, just drove from home to work and back, he didn't do so many miles and therefore the company hoped that he would bring its average mileage down so as to avoid having to pay a penalty to the leasing company.

This Sierra was capable of going very, very fast indeed. Nought to sixty in the twinkling of an eye. It had sports wheels, a generally loadsamoney look and a big sign on the front that said "GO ON - STEAL ME NOW!"

Or it might as well have had. The local car thieves seemed to think so, anyway. Every few weeks we would look out of the window and there would be a car-shaped gap where it used to be. Very annoying, though it always made its way back to us eventually.

Its most exciting exploit was when it was driven up to Newcastle and took part in an armed robbery. But of course the robbers had to park it afterwards while they went to divide their spoils or whatever armed robbers traditionally do (see Turpin for historical information about this kind of thing). Naturally, some ordinary car thieves, seeing it parked, did the obvious thing and nicked it.

Finally they tired of driving it very fast round the North-East and stopped for some chips. And when they did, two young policemen found it and very, very altruistically, with no pleasure at all, drove it back down the A1 to Leeds and returned it to us, right to the door.

"We hot-wired it! It goes EVER so fast!" they said, with considerable enthusiasm.

In contrast, in the same period of the 1980s, I had a red car too. It was a Citroen 2CV and, although the one in the picture below was not mine, it looked remarkably similar.

Oh, magnificent vehicle, how I loved it! Maximum speed 71 mph, and that was only if you pushed it off a cliff. Nought to sixty in about a fortnight. But fun! That gearstick that pulled in and out! The way it leaned when you drove round corners! We drove it as far south as Bordeaux once in the summer, the top rolled back, with the person in the passenger seat standing up and waving to scare the French drivers.

It would have been quite easy to break into by slashing the roof, and I thought it would be a real shame if that happened, so I never locked it.

It never got stolen.


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